tHe haPPy grOUch

tHe haPPy grOUch

Monday, January 18, 2016

Let me preface this blog with- I am the farthest thing from a hypochondriac. I rarely ever get sick or injured. And when I do, I push through it. I'm a- take an aspirin and suck it up- kinda gal. Although I have a very good relationship with my doctor, I only see her when absolutely necessary. Which as I mentioned, is very infrequently. I just don't get sick. I am also not prone to panic attacks or frightened/upset by anxiety. I have a very high-stress life, and I thrive on it.
The only things out of the ordinary lately (past few months), have been more frequent and painful headaches (which I just attribute to stress), and a constant ache/heaviness in my chest accompanied by shortness of breath (which I chalk up to smoking too much).

That being said...
Saturday night's episode was enough to make me force myself to stay awake half the night, for fear of not opening my eyes come morning. That, combined with Sunday's residual effects, my weird generally unwell feeling for a few months, and the pleading of my pain in the ass friends, sent me to the emergency department for the afternoon. But primarily, Saturday night and Sunday morning's symptoms. They were enough to even scare me, and I'm no friggin sissy.
I'm going to try to stay focused and do this chronologically.. starting with Saturday night, and then moving on to the frustration of my ED visit yesterday...

So, after working a double on Saturday, I headed home at around 11:45. Yeah, I was tired, I'd had a lot of coffee (but not much more than normal for me). But I was fine. I had eaten. I'd been drinking water. I didn't feel exhausted, I didn't feel sick, everything seemed "normal". Or, as normal as usual.
I was about three miles from home, singing along with the radio, looking forward to my couch and fuzzy pjs and netflix, when a few different things happened simultaneously...
I suddenly became very dizzy. Not light headed dizzy, but like- oh shit, I'm gonna pass out right friggin now- dizzy. At the same exact time, I was hit with so much heat in my chest that I pulled off my seat belt and ripped the zipper off my coat. I literally thought I was on fire. No, not heartburn, I've had heartburn and associated pain, among other things.. (My doctor and I have been battling my GI upset for years.. I've had poop tests, blood tests, barium swallow esophogram, upper GIs, etc, etc etc,) Anyway, I digress.. And not a hot flash. Although, I'm not sure I'd know what one was. I didn't sweat, that I know. Like I said, I could have sworn my I was on friggin fire. Again, at the same time, I developed a weird  "lump sensation" in my lower throat/upper chest. As if I'd swallowed something sideways, or had an air bubble, or a hiccup stuck down there. Not quite painful, per say, but very uncomfortable.
All of these things happening at once, while I was driving.. and then I realized I'd slowed to a stop in the road. I thought- I should pull off to the side. I need to call someone. Something's happening. I'm going to go off the road because I'm going to pass out. I'm not going to make it home. I should call someone...
But, I didn't. I know, pretty stupid for a smart girl. I came out of it enough to gimp it home. I drove very slowly, only about 20 mph the rest of the way home, just in case I did go off the road (ah, such silly logic).
By the time I got home, the burning in my chest was gone, just a warmth left over. The dizziness was still in full force. I also now had pins and needles in my left hand and wrist, primarily in my pinky and ring fingers. Like they just kind of wanted to curl up and be numb, which is exactly what they did. I pulled into the driveway shaking my left hand, trying to wake it up. Got out of the truck. Grabbed the stair railings and pulled myself up the 16 steps. By this time I was in full panic mode.
The tingling and numbness subsided, but I was still so friggin dizzy. Still had the lump in my throat/chest... I changed into my pajamas and sat on the couch. Made myself stay awake. Should I call someone? I should call someone. Watch some tv. Drink some water... Starting to fall asleep. Am I falling asleep or am I fainting? I can't tell. I should call someone. Get up and walk around. Almost fall down. Sit back on the couch. Watch some more tv. So, friggin, dizzy.
I finally went to lay in bed because I was succumbing to exhaustion. But I made myself sit upright in bed and stay awake for a while longer. I was afraid to go to sleep. Still thinking- I should call someone.
But I didn't.
Still dizzy, still with the weird uncomfortable lump thing in my chest/throat.
Then, the tremors came. I'm not being over-dramatic here. My heat was turned up in the house and I was covered by a fuzzy blanket, a comforter, and a quilt, and dressed in my fuzzy pjs. And I was cold. I was freezing. Not just teeth chattering cold. My entire body was shaking from head to toe, quite uncontrollably. It was enough to keep me awake for a while longer.
And then I just let myself sleep. I gave up. I thought- if I'm going to die, I'm going to die. Makes no sense to call someone now. I'm too tired. I think that was around 2am.
And so I slept, fitfully. Waking every hour or so and thinking- oh, I'm still alive, sweet! Guess I can go back to sleep!
When I woke up for the last time, it was around 7:30 or so.
I was still dizzy. So, friggin, dizzy. I still had the weird lump sensation in the bottom of my throat/top of my chest. And I felt so weak. Additionally, my vision was blurry, like double vision. I kept rubbing my eyes. I flushed them out, thinking maybe I just had sleepies in them. I couldn't read the words on my computer or phone. The vision in my left eye cleared, but my right eye stayed blurry for about an hour before finally clearing
My skin in my torso and ears and left side of my face felt hot, as if I had put vicks on. I didn't have a fever. I wasn't nauseous. I wasn't in any real pain anywhere.
Then I wrote the post on facebook, looking for someone to relate to.

By yesterday afternoon, I felt funky (and afraid) enough to go in. Something wasn't right. Listen to your body. And so I started getting ready to go. I felt stupid. I kept losing my phone. Putting things in weird places and then forgetting where they were (my bra, my makeup bag, my toothbrush..). I'm too dizzy to drive myself, so mom took me. Logan met us there.

I laid in a bed in the hall, with a curtain for "privacy" for three hours. I talked to several different nurses, assistants, clinicians... Never really getting to tell any one person the entirety of my story or symptoms. I had an EKG, chest x-rays, blood panel, urine test, and a bag of fluid.
Everything was seemingly normal. No evidence of heart attack according to the xrays and EKG, no evidence of heart damage based on my enzymes in the blood work. No infections, nothing out of the ordinary. My symptoms were "non-specific". They did mention MS but quickly discounted it almost immediately based on my age. They didn't think I had had any kind of stroke based on the way I was presenting. They never mentioned lyme disease. I was released with instructions to follow up with my doctor.

What a total waste of a Sunday afternoon.
But hey, I'm not dying, evidently.

Today I'm still dizzy, but not as bad as yesterday. I'm tired and weak. I still have this weird air bubble/lump feeling at the base of my throat; it's quite annoying. A raging fucking headache (pardon the language, but it was bad) woke me at 7. I took four ibuprofen and two benadryl immediately. I've taken a couple aspirin in the meantime. I've sat with random frozen bags of food on my head for most of the morning. I still feel "off". The head pain has subsided now to a tolerable ache, with the occasional (and fairly debilitating) flare up. I need to get showered and get to the grocery store, as much as I hate to.

I called my doc's office, and I have a follow up appointment tomorrow afternoon. She's always been quite thorough, so I expect she'll agree to the CT, perhaps an MRI, probably a test for lyme.
I'm no medical professional, but I'm a fairly educated layperson. I hope that I test positive for lyme disease. Or something. Anything. Because then it means it's not TIAs (Transient ischemic attack), or, "mini strokes". Because that's sure as hell what it looks like to me. Or worse, a brain aneurysm... I recall my beloved Kevin, who suffered from similar symptoms for almost two weeks, when his undetected aneurysm finally ruptured.  He survived it, but he is a different man now. Not Kevin.
Hopefully, I'm not right, this one time.

Anyway...
That's my interesting story of the day/weekend.

Everything else in life is status quo.
Things are weird. They're always weird. Not weird in an interesting and entertaining way, but weird in a disenchanting kind of way. I think that's my middle name, Crista "friggin disenchanted with life" Jaka....
Anyway...

Be well.